Hudson brothers Peter and Jacob Hansen placed fifth and sixth, respectively, and River Falls’ Travis Moelter earned a sixth place medal at the WIAA Division 1 Individual State Wrestling Tournament Saturday, Feb. 13, in Kaukauna.
Both Jacob and Peter Hansen faced the eventual state champions in their respective weight classes, with Jacob Hansen dropping a 7-4 decision to eventual 170 pound champ Connor Mirasola of West Bend West in the first round and Peter Hansen losing 9-0 to 160-pound champ Jack Ganos of Arrowhead in the second round.
“With only 8-man brackets, there was no easy match,” Hudson coach Chris Hansen said. “Both Peter and Jacob wrestled extremely well and extremely hard.”
Peter Hansen came back to defeat fourth-ranked and previously undefeated Landon Thern of Hortonville to sew up fifth place in the final match of his career.
“It is surreal having this part of my life come to a close,” he said. “All I can think about is how fortunate I am. I'm not going to lie, over the past decade I didn't always understand the big picture. You have to have the ability to trust if you want to be successful in this sport. When I won that very final match, the one thing that immediately hit me was that it was all worth it. I realize at almost every away meet that the experience of wrestling for Hudson is amazing and so much better than most of the surrounding towns. I am very lucky.”
After losing his first round match, Jacob Hansen went on to earn a 3-1 decision over Brookfield’s Benjamin Otto to clinch sixth place. It was their fourth meeting over the past two years with each wrestler winning twice.
“We knew round one was key for Peter and round two was key for Jacob if they were to get on the podium,” Coach Hansen said. “Both boys proved successful in those bouts.”
Chris Hansen pointed out that a month ago nobody was even sure there would be a state tournament.
“Now we have two state placewinners for the first time in five years,” he noted. “Things just have a way of working out. To give you an indication of how rare it is for a team to have two place winners, consider that no other team in our conference or regional even had two state qualifiers, let alone two place winners.”
One of the schools in the conference that did have a state place winner was River Falls and sophomore Travis Moelter. After winning his first round match, Moelter lost to the eventual 113-pound state champion Ben Bast in the second round before going on to place sixth.
“The state tournament was much different than it usually is, but it happened so that's great,” River Falls coach Kevin Black said. “Travis wrestled well right away but he ran into a very good kid in the semi-finals.”
Black said second to sixth place finishers in Moelter’s weight class were so even, the outcomes might be different each time they faced each other.
“The wrestler who beat him for fifth is the same one Travis beat last weekend,” Black noted. “So he's right there with the top kids in the state.”
Black said Moelter has a great feel for the sport and is planning on continuing to compete through the spring and summer.
“Travis ended up having a great season,” he said. “He really bought into training in the offseason and made a huge jump from the end of last year to now. He's a wrestling junky and is constantly looking to improve and learn. He's going to be fun to work with over the next couple of years. He was back on the mat working out already on Sunday.”
As for Hudson, Coach Hansen said considering the chaos caused by COVID this season he was happy it ended with him watching his two sons compete at state.
“Now that it is done and our team was so successful, I think we will look back at this unique year with great fondness,” he said. “As for senior Peter Hansen, congratulations on a remarkable career. You have left an indelible mark on the Hudson program.”